Saturday, March 28, 2015

Boosting Sarawak’s cultural heritage tourism


A country’s cultural heritage including historic buildings, sites, cultures and other invaluable assets can play a major role in boosting the nation’s tourism sector as these unique features can be promoted as tourism products to generate income.

As the tide of modernity and development continue to constantly sweep across the nation, it becomes even more imperative to conserve what remains of the old world to retain the spirit or ‘soul’ of the country.

“Finding the right balance between the development of a modern way of life, buildings, and infrastructures, and conservation of traditions, architecture, and culture is critical to ensure the country’s attractiveness for tourists,” Asean digital resource platform, Asean UP, said in a post.

In Malaysia, cultural heritage tourism has always played a key role in the growth of the nation.

By 2020, the tourism industry in Malaysia is expected to reach record total receipts of RM168 billion, with 36 million tourist arrivals targeted under the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP), Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had said.

As for Sarawak, Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg had said that Sarawak has been consistently offering unique selling points in the form of culture, adventure and nature.

He highlighted that Sarawak’s pull factor has always revolved around culture, adventure, and nature aspects and as such, can be pillars of attraction to all market segments.

Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had once said that preserving cultural heritage is also a social responsibility as it reflects our identity.

He pointed out that while Kuching is rapidly developing, it is still closely tied to its rich history.

Culture heritage tourism offers the opportunity for the local community to portray and narrate its own story.

If articulated in a proper way, through proper channels, culture heritage tourism could make an impact on the economic growth for communities and regions.

In Kuching, over the years, the older part of Kuching city has gone relatively quiet as its clienteles are pulled away by the attractive modernisation going on throughout the rest of the city.

Hence, various projects are currently underway to revive the old segment of Kuching in order to meet the younger market’s demand and to lure back the market as well as boost the tourism aspect of the area.

Most of these projects leverage on priceless historical assets readily available in old Kuching.

While developments are undertaken to rejuvenate old Kuching, its heritage should remain intact, so the future generations can appreciate the state’s historical remnants which could be traced to the White Rajah Brooke era.

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